Vincent de Rivaz: New nuclear has to be part of our low-carbon energy future. Detractors have filled many column inches and broadcast hours. However, some critics risk losing sight of the bigger picture by overlooking the positive impact and importance of this investment for Britain. China’s participation is much more than £6bn of inward investment. It brings the benefits of a 30-year partnership between EDF and CGN in nuclear construction in China, a country with the largest civil nuclear programme in the world. The cost of Hinkley Point C’s electricity is frequently compared with today’s depressed wholesale prices. The correct comparison is with future prices. Hinkley Point C is competitive with all other future energy options, even including fossil fuels like gas when the cost of carbon is taken into account
Telegraph 27th August 2016 read more »
The chief executive of energy giant EDF has reiterated the firm’s commitment to building a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point despite the shock decision by the Government to review the multi-billion pound project.
Bristol Post 28th Aug 2016 read more »
ITV 28th Aug 2016 read more »
BBC 28th Aug 2016 read more »
Press & Journal 27th Aug 2016 read more »
Energy giant EDF has issued an eleventh-hour plea for its Hinkley Point nuclear plant to get the go-ahead, as Theresa May prepares to decide on the controversial £18bn project. Writing in the Telegraph, Vincent de Rivaz, EDF Energy chief executive, attempts to counter the widespread criticism of the Hinkley plans, insisting opponents are “overlooking the positive impact” and that Britain needs new nuclear in its energy mix. EDF approved its investment in Hinkley last month but was stunned when the Prime Minister announced a fresh review, delaying a Government decision until September.
Telegraph 27th Aug 2016 read more »
Why Theresa May should plug the plug on the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant. Just four offshore wind farms could provide as much electricity as Hinkley Point, claims the ECIU, with gas-powered plants and interconnectors to other countries filling any shortfall. The Prime Minister should take note. The energy market is undergoing its own revolution and many industry executives believe rapidly changing technology will spell the end for traditional, giant power stations. Frankly, Theresa May now has more reasons than ever to pull the plug on Hinkley Point.
Mail on Sunday 27th Aug 2016 read more »
The first Malcolm Pyne knew something was amiss was when he sat down to watch the 10 o’clock news. The 46-year-old had just dispatched a £2,000 order of local Somerset lamb, beef and sausage meat from his family butchers, ready to be served as celebratory fare at the Hinkley Point nuclear site the next day. After years of delays, the board of energy giant EDF had that afternoon decided to approve its investment in the £18bn project; Pyne, a vocal supporter, was looking forward to joining visiting dignitaries at the event to mark the plant finally getting the go-ahead. Roy Pumfrey and Allan Jeffery, both in their mid-sixties, have been campaigning against Hinkley Point C since the 1980s, when the Government first mooted plans for a new plant to be built alongside the existing ‘A’ station, completed in 1965, and the 1976-vintage ‘B’ station. Though planning consent granted in 1990, the plans were later dropped following the privatisation of the energy sector. “It went quiet for 10 years or so,” Jeffery recalls. But when Tony Blair declared new nuclear “back on the agenda with a vengeance” in 2006, the idea of Hinkley Point C was swiftly resurrected by French state-controlled EDF. “The French Government had this idea of selling the EPR [reactor], this new French design, all over the world,” says Jeffery. EDF wants to build two such EPR reactors at Hinkley. Together they could generate 3.2 gigawatts of power – 7pc of the UK’s electricity needs. Both Pumfrey and Jeffery first joined the Stop Hinkley campaign for ideological and safety reasons; they cite Chernobyl, Fukushima and the challenge of nuclear waste. But, armed with press cuttings hostile to Hinkley, they highlight the arguments they know have most traction. “The reactor is unconstructable,” says Pumfrey, referencing delays in building EPRs in France and Finland. He points to the security worries over the Chinese state nuclear companies that are funding one-third of the cost. And “it is hugely expensive, and because of the deal that’s been struck, the electricity is hugely expensive”.
Telegraph 27th Aug 2016 read more »
Simon Bullock: The debate about Hinkley is a distraction. Nuclear power is not the answer. Renewables, energy saving, and energy storage are a much better deal for bill-payers as well as tax-payers, and renewables offer more scope to provide employment.
Friends of the Earth 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
Nearly two-thirds of people in Wales want all of Wales’ electricity to come from renewable sources, a poll for the conservation organisation WWF has found. They also want the Welsh Government to invest more in improving the energy efficiency of homes. First Minister Carwyn Jones will publish his Programme for Government during the next few weeks and the focus is likely to be on how Wales adapts to Brexit. WWF is calling on the Government not to sideline investment in reducing emissions and tackling climate change. Head of WWF Cymru Anne Meikle said: “By investing now in making our homes fit for the future, we can stimulate the economy by creating jobs and wasting less energy, while cutting emissions at the same time.
Wales Online 27th Aug 2016 read more »
The new boss of Horizon Nuclear Power, a subsidiary of Hitachi, wants to build reactors capable of supplying 10m homes at Wylfa on Anglesey, and Oldbury-on-Severn in Gloucestershire. Hawthorne’s arrival is timely. Britain’s nuclear ambitions have been thrown into doubt by the Brexit vote and the appointment of Theresa May as prime minister. Shock waves were sent through the industry last month with the announcement that the government now wanted time to review the plans for the Hinkley Point plant in Somerset, set to be built by the French giant EDF with Chinese backing. Hawthorne thinks scrutiny of Hinkley on security grounds is “not unreasonable”, but says worries that China could deprive Britain of power at the flick of a switch are misplaced. “The whole process has checks and balances. All the plant systems are isolated from the outside world by air gaps. Then it becomes a conversation about political intent. How much of our critical infrastructure do we want to control and how do we want to control it?” Horizon’s deal with the government will be very different to EDF’s, the chief executive insists. Hawthorne wants to get heads of terms — general contract principles — signed in the “near future”. That will set Hitachi on course to make a final investment decision on Wylfa by the end of the decade. The cost is expected to be about £10bn. Oldbury would follow later. In the wake of the Hinkley delay, Hawthorne has sought — and received — assurances from Whitehall that Horizon’s project is not under threat. “We were keen to hear it was not part of an overall policy review,” he says. Yet Tokyo’s nerves have been frayed. What would help to soothe them is a public commitment from May to the nuclear programme and Wylfa. “We’ve spent £1.2bn on this project that we may never see again if we don’t get to a successful conclusion,” the boss says. “A statement from this prime minister would be highly valuable.” One remote possibility is the government halting new nuclear altogether. The gas price slump has led some to advocate a swathe of relatively cheap gas-powered stations. That could help to bridge the gap until renewable energy is better able to do the job and battery storage has taken a big leap forward.
Times 28th Aug 2016 read more »
Surprisingly beautiful photographs of Britain’s nuclear power stations.
Telegraph 27th Aug 2016 read more »
THE police force charged with guarding UK nuclear power plants has admitted to a substantial increase in the number of breaches of security last year. There were 21 separate incidents involving stolen or lost smart phones and identity cards, up from 13 the previous year. In one case a Blackberry was taken in a “domestic burglary”, and in another a SIM card was “accidently thrown in disposal chute at home address.” Emails containing sensitive information, including an armoury access code and personal data, were sent in breach of security protocols. “Terrorists must be delighted with this catalogue of cock-ups,” said Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland. “It seems you just have to follow some nuclear police around for a while and they’ll drop their pass in a car park, leave a work phone on the train or accidentally send secret info through Google mail. It would be laughable if it wasn’t about the safety of some of the most dangerous sites in the UK.” The revelations uncovered by the Sunday Herald have been condemned as well as prompting alarm from campaigners and politicians. They point out that there have recently been concerns about Chinese state companies stealing nuclear industry secrets. One of the reasons why the Prime Minister Theresa May is thought to have delayed a decision last month on a long-planned £18 billion nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset is the 33 per cent stake by the China General Nuclear Power Company. The company has been charged with nuclear espionage by the US government. “We would need to rely even more heavily on the proper functioning of the nuclear police if we invite the world’s biggest nation’s industrial spies inside the fence.” Dr David Lowry, a senior research fellow at the US Institute for Resource and Security Studies, also highlighted security concerns about Chinese involvement. “It sets alarm bells ringing that so many security failures could have happened at a time when there are plans to expand the UK nuclear industry,” he said. Lowry pointed out that the government watchdog, the Office for Nuclear Regulation, had stated in its 2015-16 annual report that there were areas where security arrangements at nuclear plants “did not fully meet regulatory expectations”. The security breaches were “troubling”, according to the SNP’s energy spokesperson, Callum McCaig MP. “We need to be sure that security is the paramount concern – and that there is no room for any more breaches or mix-ups,” he said. Dr Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace UK, contended that nuclear power had unique safety and security challenges. “Whether we entrust our nuclear secrets to the French or the Chinese, or anyone else, there will always be the potential for losses, theft, error and accident,” he said. The CNC, however, stressed that security breaches were dealt with “swiftly and robustly” and that they were “low risk”. Missing smart phones and warrant cards were immediately deactivated, and officers were given “advice and guidance” by supervisors.
Sunday Herald 28th August 2016 read more »
Nuclear security: Government pouring millions into steeling power plants from potential terror attacks. While forces around the country have seen their budgets slashed under the Tories, funding for the nuclear authority has risen by 55 per cent since 2010. The drive to steel Britain’s nuclear facilities against future attack has seen spending soar to the point that it has almost tripled since the 7/7 bombings, over a period when other forces faced deep cuts. Earlier this year the Office for Nuclear Regulation which holds sway over security warned of the growing threat of attack on Britain’s operational reactors. It also emerged that the terror cell responsible for the recent Paris and Brussels attacks were thought to be planning a strike on a nuclear power station. Nuclear security is especially under the spotlight now that the Government is deciding whether to sign a deal that would see the Chinese government heavily invested in the UK’s planned power station at Hinkley Point.
Independent 27th Aug 2016 read more »
More than £74 million of public money is spent every year to guard Trident warheads and nuclear submarines on the Clyde and across the UK, the Sunday Herald can reveal. Nearly half the total budget for the Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) goes on armed police protecting the nuclear bases at Faslane and Coulport near Helensburgh, bomb factories in Berkshire and the nuclear convoys that shuttle between them. The spending has been attacked by politicians and campaigners as a hidden cost of maintaining Trident weapons of mass destruction. If Trident were scrapped, the money could be better spent on public services, such as improved policing, they say.
Herald 28th Aug 2016 read more »
Residents living within 30 kilometers of Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama Nuclear Power Plant in Fukui Prefecture participated in a large-scale drill to evacuate to other prefectures on Aug. 27.
The Mainichi 27th Aug 2016 read more »
Japan Times 28th Aug 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
Chile awarded a contract to sell solar power for $29.10 per megawatt hour (MWh), the lowest ever across the planet. This surpasses the record set in May of a $29.90 per MWh bid in Dubai for an 800 megawatt (MW) solar project. “This is the lowest price ever seen, for any renewable technology,” an analyst told Bloomberg. The low price is possible due to the rapid fall in cost of solar technology and the 12 MW solar plant’s location in the ideal conditions of Chile’s Atacama Desert.
Ecowatch 22nd Aug 2016 read more »
Costa Rica just ran its electricity grid for 113 days in a row entirely on renewable energy. Using a mix of wind, solar and its abundant supply of geothermal energy (a nice boon for anyone wanting to have dispatchable renewables!), this small nation is proving that fossil fuels are no longer necessary to keep the lights on.
Tree Hugger 23rd Aug 2016 read more »
This week’s micro power news. Includes news of large group of local authorities that plan to build and operate their own solar farms.
Microgen Scotland 25th August 2016 read more »